Adventure of the Week: SoulCycle

This was a tough week to pick just one new adventure – we’ve had so many! Even as I typed the title of this post, I felt torn about choosing SoulCycle as my feature. Other choices that came to mind were our weekend adventures with my parents to Muir Woods and the Benziger Winery in Sonoma; our Monday night spur-of-the-moment detour to Goorin Brothers Hat Shop (we won a free hat!) and the Alembic for shots and a pint; or last night’s Giants game. But, I’m going with SoulCycle because at the moment, it feels the most foreign – i.e. the whole time I was there, I felt like the country girl (in my Target workout gear) with the city crew (in their hip, form-fitting top of the line Lululemon getup).

One of my best friends from college, Laura, texted me on Monday and asked if I wanted to go with her to a SoulCycle class this week. If you aren’t familiar with the brand, SoulCycle is a private spinning studio that has studios in LA, NYC, and San Francisco. Just by the locations, you can sense it’s a trendy place to see and be seen. Rumor has it, Jake Gyllenhaal is an instructor in an NYC studio… Anyway – not to get my your hopes up, but there were no celebrity sightings in this class. However, the promise of a workout that is tougher than any old spin class at the YMCA…was fulfilled.

Before I even start on the workout (think push ups on the bike, weights under the seat that you use to do zillions of curls while spinning), you have to picture the setting.

You walk into the studio and there are about 60 bikes all fit neatly into a tiny room.

Here's a pic of the bike studio.

Here’s a pic of the bike studio.

There are candles (yes, candles!) lit at the front of the room – ours gave off a light scent of lemongrass. And all the lights are out. Now – if you’re like me, and this is you first time riding, there are some pros and cons to the lights being out:

  • Pros – No one else can see me when I am seriously struggling to keep up with the demands of the instructor. And yes, I do struggle.
  • Cons – I can’t really see how to set up my bike or how to clip in my shoes (which I’ve never done before). I will say though, they do have employees who quickly come to your rescue if you’re struggling to get your seat adjusted (like me).

So, the lights are out, the candles are lit, and the music is LOUD. Think like, in a dance club loud. I’ve actually never been to a dance club – because, you know, I’m a small town Carolinas girl – but, if I can imagine what a club would sound like, this is it. SoulCycle works hard to create an environment that is both energizing – yet at the same time, a bit zen (those candles!).

The classes are 45 minutes, which seemed like forever when I signed up. But once I got in there, it flew by. Mainly because you are up and down off the bike, doing push-ups on beat with the (fast!) music, working out your arms with those little hand weights I mentioned, and generally just thinking about nothing but getting through to the next song.

It was an amazing workout. I sweat a gallon. It was disgusting. They are serious on the website when they tell you to bring water. Bring water and drink your water before hand. It was rough. Afterwards, I almost felt embarrassed that I was there with Laura because I felt so disgustingly sweaty. On the bright side, at least I got a good workout.

At the end of the day, my assessment of SoulCycle is that it is one tough workout that gives you a run for your money (and yes – this matters a LOT since it’s 30 bucks a pop). Because it’s so expensive and, you know, I’m a teacher so I make next to nothing, I probably won’t be back on a regular basis – but for that once a month splurge when I want to switch up my workout routine with something different, super challenging, and fun – this will be it.

Adventure of the Week: uTOEpia

I thought it’d be fun to write a weekly post detailing a new restaurant, park, or experience in the city. It’s also a sneaky (or probably not so sneaky, actually) way to hold myself accountable to getting out of my apartment and exploring on a weekly basis.

I’m sure for our first months in San Francisco, we’ll be experiencing  new things frequently – so I’m going to choose one of those to share with you each week.

This week, I cannot wait to tell you about the experience I had at uTOEpia.

My friend, Morinne, and I had planned to get together on Tuesday afternoon for coffee/tea. Monday night, she texted and asked if I was up for a pedicure and/or foot massage. Was I up for a pedicure and/or foot massage?? OF COURSE. Getting a pedicure is one of my favorite things to do and the foot massage is my absolute favorite part of the pedicure. She quickly made an appointment for us (I was impressed she was able to do this because it was 9:30pm – but they’re open til 10pm every night) and I went to bed giddy for the promised foot massage to come.

uTOEpia was unlike any other salon I’ve been to. First of all, it was incredibly quiet. The salon I frequented in South Carolina  had pop music blaring, the TV going, and multiple people on their cell phones. Not this place. No cell phone use is allowed (thank goodness!) and there were no electronics in sight. The clients all spoke in whispers as to keep the peace. It was a wonderful change of pace from the busyness of the past few weeks.

Morinne and I were led to the back of the salon (right on time with our appointment!) and seated in two huge, comfy chairs that were hidden behind curtains made of flowy fabrics in light orange and brown tones.

UTOEpia's comfy chairs were the best.

uTOEpia’s comfy chairs were the best.

Two tubs of warm water were brought out for us to each soak our feet in and we were promptly asked if we’d like water or tea. I opted for tea. The tea came with these deliciously crunchy Japanese coconut wafers.

After about 10 minutes of soaking our feet in the tubs, our massage therapists arrived. So here’s the moment where I realized this was just a massage – no pedicure. But like I said, the foot massage is my favorite part of the pedicure, so I was actually super pumped.

The next 60 minutes (you read that right, 60 minutes of massage for only $41) were pure bliss. My feet and calves were treated to a thorough massage for the first 30 minutes. Then, the chairs folded all the way back and the massage therapists turned to our back and neck for the next 30 minutes. This was just what I needed after all the running around of the past week.

uTOEpia, is hands down, a new favorite place of mine in the city. Any place where I can get a full hour massage for 41 dollars has my loyalty. I can’t wait to go back again – and to try their pedicure/manicure services!

Highs & Lows of our First Weeks in SF (Including Falling Down the Stairs…)

We’ve been in San Francisco about 1.5 weeks now. While moving to San Francisco may seem like a glamorous move from our previous small-town life in South Carolina, I want to make sure I’m realistically documenting both the highs and the lows of life in the big city.

If you’ve made a big move before, you know that the first few months are filled with all sorts of errands, paperwork, and generally sticky moments where you find yourself feeling totally out of place. At the same time, there are moments of, “I can’t believe this is where I live now <insert googly-eyed happy face>”  when you find yourself captured by the excitement of having so many new restaurants, neighborhoods, and parks to explore.

Without further ado, here are three of my top highs and lows since we’ve arrived:

High #1: Going to the grocery for the first time and realizing because most the food in the US is produced in California, then produce is generally much less expensive! In SC, I’d pay $3.50 for 8 oz. of strawberries; here, I bought 16 oz. of strawberries for $5. I was so excited, I bought a pound of blueberries and strawberries on our first grocery trip which I realized is more berries than one person can consume comfortably in a week (or maybe that’s just me).

Low #1: Realizing that it’s going to take me a good 10 minutes to find a parking spot every time I get home. We don’t have a garage, but there is free street parking around our neighborhood. I usually end up parking 2 – 4 blocks away which is a little difficult if you’ve just returned home from errands with heavy bags of groceries/dog food/sheets/cleaning supplies, etc.. On the bright side, I think I’m getting pretty good at parallel parking!

I also have to make sure I pay attention to all the different parking signs so I don't get towed.

I also have to make sure I pay attention to all the different parking signs so I don’t get towed. It’s complicated, people.

High #2: Getting to go to our favorite SF restaurants any time we want! Pat and I have visited the city pretty consistently for the past 7 years and always feel like we have to rush around to get in all the places we want to eat. Now, we can go to those places any time we want and still have time to explore new places. The first favorite restaurant we went to was San Tung at 11th and Irving where they have the world’s BEST chicken wings. They are called “dry-fried” and they have the most delicious gingery, slight spicy and sweet sauce. So, so good.

San Tung "Dry-Fried" Wings

San Tung “Dry-Fried” Wings

Low #2: Falling down the steps on the way to do laundry. Yep, you read that right. I fell down all 10 granite steps outside on the way to the laundry in the basement. And, it was raining. And, there were lots of cars driving by – including a bus of people sightseeing. And, my undies went flying all over the pavement. My fall started at the very top step and I had a moment of seeing myself in slow motion falling down all of the steps and breaking my back. Nonetheless, I landed on my bum (thanks for the padding, bum!) and proceeded to bump – bump – bump  my way down to the bottom. This was definitely a low moment of my week.

This is exactly how I felt:

Help me. I've fallen and I can't get up. No, literally, I mean it.

Help me. I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. No, literally, I mean it.

High #3: Spending lots of time in Golden Gate Park. Our apartment is only 1/2 a mile from the park and it makes my heart so happy to be able to run through green space. The park is 3 miles long and 1/2 mile wide. It’s filled with all sorts of fun surprises, like a bison paddock, several lakes, a disc golf course, a regular golf course, several museums, free concerts, and, of course, all sorts of interesting people. On Sunday, Pat and I ran by the rollerblading course where there were people blasting 80s music and rollerblading backwards in circles. One guy seemed to be doing the moonwalk on rollerblades. This was a special moment.

There are so many things to explore in the park!

There are so many things to explore in the park! We live near right side where you see the little “Panhandle.”

Low #3: Trying to figure out the long-term rental market. It is a hot mess. In every other place I’ve lived, I’ve showed up for a showing, filled out an application, and made my deposit and boom, I’ve had a place to live. Not here, my friends. Before even considering going to showing, you must compile a lengthy packet of documents (our own packet was 85 pages long…) including recent pay stubs, full credit reports, proof of income, pet resumes (yes, you read that right!), recent bank statements, references from all landlords for the past 4 years – oh, and you should be ready to put down a safety deposit + first and last month’s rent. So, you need to have a wad of cash in the bank. Then, once you finally get to the showing, you are competing with a crowd of other people all trying to talk to the landlord. Not fun. I’ve been trying to play up my Southern charm antics which Pat says are very excellent.

There you have it – a few captured moments of the past week or so. I could go on and on – the day I fell down the steps seemed to be an entire low day. It was just a mess. I’m not used to city life, people. It took me 30 minutes (one way) to drive the 4 miles to TJ Maxx to get a new set of sheets. Culture shock for this small-town Florence, SC girl.

I’m getting used to city life. It’s just a little adjustment. But, as long as I don’t keep falling down the stairs, I’ll be good.



Establishing a Saturday Routine

We are getting settled into the city. We’ve created our first Saturday routine which means we’re <somewhat> official. The past two Saturdays, we’ve gone to the Outer Sunset to our favorite coffee shop, Trouble. It’s the most hipster place I’ve ever been so be forewarned. In case you don’t believe me, just check out the website.  There is no menu and to order you basically have to know the secret Trouble language / code. They have a chalkboard sign outside which always says something super cryptic. Today it read, “Thrash or Die.” Go figure.

Anyway, we get two large coffees with lots of brown sugar. Pat likes cream in his, I like soy in mine. We both get the cinnamon toast which is pretty incredible. (I’ve tried recreating it on my own at home many, many times over the past 8 years but it just ain’t happening.)

Just look at that cinnamon coating. The toast itself is about an inch think.

Just look at that cinnamon coating. The toast itself is about an inch think.

After downing our coffee and cinnamon toast, we walk the few blocks to the beach and let Biscuit run around in the sand. He adores the beach.  We also have learned the hard way that when we do this, we need to make sure to bring towels to drape over the seats of my car. Otherwise, we end up with sandy, wet dog remnants everywhere for the next week.

Biscuit will run around in the sand for about 15 minutes and then we walk on the beach. Which, I might call out, is oh-so-different than the beaches I’m familiar with on the East Coast:

  1. The water never seems to get warm.
  2. There are giant rock cliffs everywhere you look.
  3. The width of the beach doesn’t really seem to change; on the East Coast, depending on the status of the tide, you might have 10 feet of beach or 100. Here, it’s always about the same.
  4. The sand itself here is much darker.
  5. And, specifically if you’re at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, it’s pretty much always cold and foggy. So, forget your bikini – make sure to bring your hoodie instead.

After our beach time, we then head over to Golden Gate Park and go for a short run. Today, we discovered Stow Lake. This is one of my new favorite places in the city. It was so quiet and peaceful.

Yep, that's me. Sitting on a giant stump on a hill in the middle of Stow Lake. Oh, and there's Biscuit, too.

Yep, that’s me. Sitting on a giant stump on a hill in the middle of Stow Lake. Oh, and there’s Biscuit, too.

So, there you have it. We’re establishing routines &  getting ourselves in order.

I’m feeling a little nervous these days about finding a longer-team lease once our short-term one is up. We can stay here through the end of September. I love our apartment so much, I wish we could stay here forever, but unfortunately, it’s a 3 month deal. Keep your fingers and toes crossed! The hardest thing seems to be finding a place that is pet-friendly (ugh!). And, no, I can’t just “get rid of” my pets! Little Socky and Bisky are my family. I can’t just throw them out!

We’re off to dinner tonight at a little French restaurant in Cole Valley (the neighborhood at the top of our list in our apartment search) called Zazie. Their brunch menu looks especially fabulous, but it’s our month-a-versary so we have date night planned (we go out the 19th of every month because we got married June 19, 2010).

Who knows, if it’s really good, maybe we’ll go back for brunch tomorrow.

From Winston-Salem to San Francisco: Road Trip

We got into San Francisco on Friday. I had planned to update the blog throughout our trip, but I didn’t quite take into account that 13 hour days on the road might leave me a bit sleep deprived and exhausted beyond writing capability. Sorry about that! So – I’ll do my best to fill you in on the highlights of our trip.

Day 1: Winston-Salem to Marion, Illinois – I drove my little Honda Civic filled to the brim with our stuff, Biscuit, and Socrates to Nashville, Tennessee to meet up with Pat where he’d been visiting his brother, Cam. Cam came along to help us get the U-Haul auto trailer hooked up to Pat’s truck. After getting the car hooked up, we drove to Marion, Illinois where we spent our first night.

  • The best parts of this day included: getting to see Cam; finding an incredibly life-like Dolly Parton cardboard cutout at a rest stop in TN; and the cleanliness of the Holiday Inn Express where we stayed.
  • The worst parts of this day included: getting that trailer hitched up (it was so nerve-wracking!) and getting set up in a hotel for the first time with pets which took way more energy than I initially expected.
    Biscuit rode like this all the way to Tennessee. He loves cuddling.

    Biscuit rode like this all the way to Tennessee. He loves cuddling.

    Socrates rode in the back - poor guy, he was kind of crammed in back there.

    Socrates rode in the back – poor guy, he was kind of crammed in back there.

    Welcome to Tennessee.

    Welcome to Tennessee.

    Hey there, Dolly!

    Hey there, Dolly!

    Pat and Cam got quite the workout putting that trailer on (while I watched, haha). It was almost 100 degrees out!

    Pat and Cam got quite the workout putting that trailer on (while I watched, haha). It was almost 100 degrees out!

    Finally, we made it to Illinois.

    Finally, we made it to Illinois.

Day 2: Marion, Illinois to Oakley, Kansas – I drove the truck and trailer set-up for the first time today! At first, it was really nerve-wracking, but after the first 30 minutes or so, I got comfortable. We drove through Missouri and Kansas this day – both of which seemed like really wide states. Kansas was so much prettier than I expected. We drove through the Great Plains which, for some reason, I expected to be a flat, dry land. Instead, it was lush and green with small hills.

  • The best parts of this day included: discovering Kansas is such a green and beautiful state; learning how to drive a truck/trailer combo; watching Biscuit snuggle up to Socrates’ cat carrier in the car.
  • The worst parts of this day included: the hotel where we stayed in Oakley, KS was across the street from a chicken plant…if you’ve never smelled a chicken plant before, you are one lucky duck; while Kansas was beautiful – it is one long state and I got pretty bored after a while (I actually think I came a bit delirious towards the end…I asked Pat when we were going to be done driving through Texas…whoops!) .
  • Most embarrassing moment of the day/trip: I was so excited to cross the Mississippi River. Well into Kansas, I asked Pat if he remembered crossing it because I had never seen us go across. He looked at me like I was a little crazy, and said, “yeah, remember when we went through St. Louis and we went across that big bridge?” And I looked at him – remembering this bridge, and honestly (this is the East Coast girl coming out in me), I thought to myself, “I thought that was the ocean.” Okay, okay, obviously a dumb moment on my part – but it was just more of an automatic response coming from living so near to the beach for most of my life and never having see the Mississippi. Nevertheless, I don’t think Pat will ever let me live that down.
Driving into St. Louis (crossing the, ahem, Mississippi...not the ocean apparently)

Driving into St. Louis (crossing the, ahem, Mississippi…not the ocean apparently)

Biscuit spent most of the week like this.

Biscuit spent most of the week like this.

Welcome to the Wheat State!

Welcome to the Wheat State!

I can drive the trailer - I'm a expert now!

I can drive the trailer – I’m a expert now!

Kansas - so pretty, right?

Kansas – so pretty, right?

The great plains.

The great plains.

Sunset in Kansas.

Sunset in Kansas.

Day 3: Oakley, Kansas to Monticello, Utah – We finally made it through Kansas and on to Colorado. Colorado was so interesting, because you never really drive up a giant incline – it’s very gradual, so before you know it, you’re in Denver and at 5,000 ft. in elevation but it’s like you don’t even remember gaining that ground. Colorado is a very sneaky state! This was probably my favorite day – Colorado and Utah were both so pretty and so different than anything on the East Coast. I especially loved Utah – the whole time I kept telling Pat I felt like I was in a Wild West movie. (I actually told Pat that I felt like I was in the movie True Grit and he so kindly informed me that True Grit was actually filmed in Arkansas – whoops! Ha.)

  • The best parts of this day included: driving through the Rocky Mountains and the canyons in Colorado; driving through the desert in Utah and seeing real, live mesas; finding a little cafe in Monticello, UT where I had the most delicious meal of my trip (Southwestern grilled chicken sandwich with avocado and bacon – mmm…); driving into Navajo Nation.
  • The worst parts of this day included: getting stuck in a traffic jam in the Rockies; Pat driving for like 6 hours straight and not stopping for me to use the bathroom (aaahh! a test of my bladder…); having to stop at Papa Joe’s gas station in the middle of the desert where they rip you off because it’s the only station for 100 miles (we paid $5.75/gallon – ergh).

The Rockies!



Driving through a canyon / tunnel in Colorado

Driving through a canyon / tunnel in Colorado



Mesas in Utah



It’s official! We crossed the border.


Utah desert – a.k.a. Wild West.

Day 4: Monticello, Utah to Barstow, California – We went to the Grand Canyon today! We were debating about going to the North Rim versus the South Rim because we’d heard that the South Rim is so overcrowded. On the downside, the North Rim was about 1.5 hours out of our way. So, we went to the South Rim and it wasn’t actually that crowded at all. We took some sweet pics with Biscuit and drove through the park. We weren’t able to hike around at all since we didn’t want to leave little Socky in the car for more than 20 minutes in the heat, but perhaps we’ll save that for another visit. We finally made it into California on Thursday evening and into our cozy room at the Hampton Inn. Pat went and grabbed dinner for us while I got the pets settled in for our last night in a hotel.

  • The best parts of this day included: seeing the Grand Canyon, driving through Utah in the early morning, finally making it to California.
  • The worst parts of this day included: driving from Flagstaff, AZ to Barstow, CA – it was desert the entire way which was entertaining for the first 20 minutes…and then just boring.
Sunrise in the Utah desert.

Sunrise in the Utah desert.

Driving through desert.

Driving through desert.

And more desert...

And more desert…

North Rim or South Rim? South it is.

North Rim or South Rim? South it is.

The Grand Canyon! Wow - it's so grand.

The Grand Canyon! Wow – it’s so grand.

Cute family photo (Socrates took the photo of course).

Cute family photo (Socrates took the photo of course).

The Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon.

#selfie love

#selfie love

Socrates and Biscuit are exhausted from the big trip.

Socrates and Biscuit are exhausted from the big trip.

Day 5: Barstow, CA to San Francisco, CA – We finally made it! We spent the first 7 hours of the day driving through California’s Central Valley. This area is where so much of the food in the US is produced and we saw tractor-trailers full of onions and tomatoes (just piled into a giant container – loose!) for most of the way. I always knew that much of the food in the US was produced in this region, but to see it up close, felt pretty neat. We passed pistachio groves, orange and tangerine groves, a raisin plant, grape vineyards, dairy and cattle farms, berry fields – you name it, we probably passed it. We got into Oakland around 2:30pm where we dropped off the U-Haul trailer and then headed to a friend’s house where we are storing some belongings for the time being. After unloading everything, we pulled out of Oakland around 4:30pm. But our day wasn’t over yet! We drove to Fairfield, CA (about an hour north of the city) to sell Pat’s car. This had been part of our plan all along (we don’t need two cars in SF), but it was still a little sad because Pat loved that truck. Around 8:30pm, we left the car dealership and drove into the city to our apartment. Yippee! Our place was spotless when we arrived and the best part was that I had a welcome package waiting on the doorstep for me from my dear friend, Rachel. We were pretty pumped with adrenaline at this point, and so we stayed up unpacking until about midnight when we finally crashed into bed.

  • The best parts of this day included: seeing the tomato trucks on I-5, getting into our apartment, having a welcome gift waiting on the doorstep for me, sleeping in our own bed for the first time in a week.
  • The worst parts of this day included: driving in 5:00pm traffic from Oakland to Fairfield (a 37 mile trip took us 1.5 hours), selling Pat’s truck (sadness!), unloading our stuff in Oakland and then again at our apartment (who likes carrying heavy things?).
Pat with the truck before we sold it. (Tear!)

Pat with the truck before we sold it. (Tear!)

Our apartment - see the pretty stained glass window?

Our apartment – see the pretty stained glass window?

Welcome gift from a dear friend! Thanks, Rachel! :)

Welcome gift from a dear friend! Thanks, Rachel! :)

So, this week, I’m working on getting settled into real life here. Stay posted…

Feeling Ready

So, I’m headed out from Winston-Salem in the morning. I’m feeling excited and ready.

Pat and I are meeting in Nashville, Tennessee tomorrow at 3pm which means I need to leave here around 8am. He drove there after the bachelor party to spend some extra time with Cameron.  I’ll be driving the Civic packed full to the brim with Biscuit and Socrates both in the front seat (good thing they’re friendly with each other).

Our route – we’re aiming to drive between 9.5 and 10.5 hours per day:

  1. Monday July 7th: Winston-Salem to Nashville, Tennessee to Marion, Illinois. We’ll pick up the U-Haul trailer that we’re going to use to tow my car in Nashville. For the rest of the way, we’re going to drive Pat’s truck and tow my little car behind it. The plan is to sell Pat’s truck when we get to San Francisco.
  2. Tuesday, July 8th: Marion, Illinois to Oakley, Kansas. This could be a pretty boring day – mostly through farmland. On the upside, I’ve never been to Kansas so I’ll have another state to check off my list!
  3. Wednesday, July 9th: Oakley, Kansas to Monticello, Utah. We’re staying at the Inn at the Canyons in Monticello. This is definitely the smallest town we’re staying in and is in the middle of the desert.
  4. Thursday, July 10th: Monticello, Utah to the Grand Canyon to Barstow, California. Pat and I can’t wait to visit the Grand Canyon! This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time and it’s finally going to happen. We’ve only allotted about 2 hours to spend here, but hey, we’ve got a destination to get to.
  5. Friday, July 11th: Barstow, California to San Francisco, California. Our final day of driving. This will also be our shortest day of driving because we need to get to Oakland to drop some boxes off with a friend who’s storing them for us – we also need to drop off the U-Haul trailer in Oakland.

The next time I post – I’ll be somewhere along our route! I’m going to try and take lots of pictures and keep you all posted. In the meantime, please let me know if you have any road-tripping tips!


Week of Winston-Salem Love

All in all, it’s been a pretty calm week (depends on your version of calm). Since we moved out of our house in Florence last Sunday, everything is packed and waiting in our car to continue on the next leg of our trip. We’re staying with my parents this week  until Pat finishes up with his brother’s bachelor party.

A few highlights of the week to hold you over until our trip picks back up on Monday:

  • My cousins came to visit from Asheville. They’re both boys, ages 10 and 13. They spent the week with us and kept us entertained. My younger cousin, Ian, literally never stops talking. At 7:00am on Monday morning, he was already sitting beside me in full-on conversation mode and this didn’t end until he went to bed. He’s a super funny kid. My other cousin, Elijah, just got his ears pierced. It turns out he got them pierced at a body piercing studio so I got to experience that for the first time (he lost one of his earrings so he had to go get it replaced…no I did not take him to get his ears pierced). The boys also asked how old I was, and when I told them 28, they told me that I was almost 40.  Aaaaaah. Thanks boys. A real ego booster.

    "You look like you're 108."   Apparently, I look very old to them.

    “You look like you’re 108.” Apparently, I look very old to them.

  • The Feliway medicine for Socrates came in the mail. I’ve plugged in the diffuser and so far, so good. The real test begins, of course, when we are moving from hotel to hotel – I’ll keep you posted.
  • My brother came home from Atlanta Institute! I don’t think I’ve shared this yet, but my younger brother, Turner, is a 2014 Metro Atlanta corps member with Teach For America. It feels full circle since I just finished my job with Teach For America in June. I’m super proud of him.
There's my brother on the left. Handsome little guy, isn't he? (P.S. I don't really look that old do I??)

There’s my brother on the left. Handsome little guy, isn’t he? (P.S. I don’t really look that old do I??)

  • And, finally, I’ve gotten to hang out with my parents. I’m a lucky girl when it comes to my family unit. My mom and dad would both give their right arm to me if I needed it. This week, they’ve cooked us meals, helped me get a new cell phone sorted out (my old one shattered a few weeks ago…), driven us around, watched the Bachelorette with me (gold star!), and generally been awesome.
My mom and our dog, Newman. He's an old English sheepdog, and yes, he's huge.

My mom and our dog, Newman. He’s an old English sheepdog, and yes, he’s huge.

My dad and my brother at UNC graduation in May.

My dad and my brother at UNC graduation in May.

So that’s it for week one. I’ll share an update on our route this weekend before we hit the road on Monday.

Until later, friends.